German intelligence: PKK is fighting ISIS

The German intelligence agency refused claims by Minister Gabriel that “PKK is involved with narcotics trafficking and extortion”, stating that PKK raises funds through donations and sales of publications, and a portion of the funds go to fighting ISIS.

Germany’s domestic intelligence institution Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution announced their 2016 report in a press conference held in Berlin on July 4. Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Chairperson Hans-Georg Maassen and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière were present in the press conference and the report they announced included information on institutions and organizations that are under surveillance in Germany.


This year’s version of the report published every year was 330 pages long. There were 30 pages on the Kurds and the PKK, which was dubbed “the strongest among active foreign radical organizations in Germany”. The report stated that the PKK preserved the strength it had in previous years and cited the “number of potential members” at 14 thousand. 

The report stated that the PKK has mass organizations in all areas, among various professional and ethnic groups and cited the Kurdish youth, student, religious and intellectual organizations as examples. The report stressed that the PKK plays an important role in mobilizing masses via the internet and social media and added: “PKK mobilizes its base quickly according to new developments”.


The report listed Kurds’ activities and actions in Germany throughout 2016 and included summaries from the lawsuits filed against Kurdish politicians. A significant point was that the German intelligence agency did not use the phrase “terrorist organization” in reference to the PKK unlike previous years. The goals of the PKK’s activity in Germany were listed as: 

“Raising awareness in their base for developments in the Kurdish regions like civil war and conflict. Mobilizing their base against the pressure the Turkish government exerts on the PKK and institutions in relation with it, and raising awareness for the condition of PKK leader Öcalan’s health and imprisonment.”

The German intelligence summarized the PKK’s goals as: “As they did in the recent years, the PKK has been fighting to build an autonomous administration that recognizes the cultural and ethnic rights of Kurds within Turkey’s and now Syria’s borders. PKK is focused on establishing contact with Öcalan and fighting ISIS in Northern Syria now.”


The report lists PKK’s sources of revenue as: “Since mid-2014, ISIS attacking Northern Syria and Iraq, and the Turkish state moving in on Kurdish regions increased the feeling of solidarity in the Kurdish community. In Germany as well as throughout Europe, PKK collects funds via fundraising campaigns, monthly membership fees, sales of publications and activities they hold.”

The German intelligence agency claimed that the PKK uses the raised funds “for propaganda tools” in Europe and the rest is sent to “areas of struggle” within Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The report stated that most of the money goes to fighting ISIS.

This latest report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution thus refuted Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s claims against the PKK. In visits in Berlin and Ankara last June, Gabriel had said: “PKK is also banned in our country for being involved in arms and narcotics trafficking and extortion.”

PKK has been banned as an organization since 1993 in Germany. Since then, no activity has been held in the name of PKK in that country, but the German intelligence appropriates efforts and activities by the Kurdish institutions to the PKK.